wing long; tail streamers.
Duller and lacks tail streamers; upperparts dark brown; chestnut
replaced with pinkish buff; breast band brown. Lacks elongated outer
Generally quiet. Described as
twittering calls while in flight: twit twit. Each has its own
song, but they may sing in chorus.
Graceful swoops with regular wing beats.
Upperparts and breast band metallic
blue; forehead, throat, upper breast chestnut; underpants white.
Barn Swallows eat insects, taking them during flight. They appear to
have a preference for flies and mosquitoes (Diptera). To
feast on swarming insects, they may join other birds like Swifts.
Swallows actually chase after individual prey and perform aerial
acrobatics to catch them. Swallows also hunt at lower levels than
Swifts, particularly during wet weather.
Swifts, Swallows perch and also come to the ground to drink or
gather nesting material. But they can also sip drinks of water on
Barn Swallows breed in the north from America through Europe to
China. Females appear to prefer males with long tails. They court with aerial chases, the pair often
perching on a branch to preen each other. They may mate in flight!
They lay 4 to 5 white brown-spotted eggs. Both parents incubate for 15-17 days. The other
parent feeds the brooding parent, and both rest in the same nest at
night. Hatchlings are born naked and helpless, fledging in 18-23
days. They may raise more than one brood in a good season, with
their latest fledged juveniles helping out. When the young are able
to fly, the parents may continue to feed them and do so on the wing!
Migration: In winter, Barn Swallows migrate southwards
to South America, Africa, India and Southeast Asia. They travel in
huge flocks and may cover up to 11,000km. Barn
Swallows are often seen roosting in large flocks perched on overhead
wires or man-made structures.
Status and threats:
They are often considered a pest because of their untidy and messy
nests near human habitation. However, they play an important role in
controlling insect populations and can act as a natural form of pest
control in cultivated areas.
Posted:03/29/2010 12:35 PM